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'Princess Bride': An Oral History

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Everett Collection

Wove. Twue wove. That’s what fans of The Princess Bride clearly feel for director Rob Reiner’s 1987 cult comic fairy tale. If you woved our cast reunion photo and you ate up the tidbits from our oral history in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly (on stands now), and yet, inconceivably, you still want more… well, as you wish. Here is an expanded version of our in-depth oral history on the making of The Princess Bride.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, writer of The Princess Bride novel (published in 1973) and screenplay: I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, “I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?” One of them said “a princess” and the other one said “a bride.” I said, “That’ll be the title.”

ROB REINER, director: I read the book when I was in my 20s, because I was a huge William Goldman fan. Then, after I had made a couple of pictures, Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing, I started thinking of The Princess Bride. I very naively thought I could make a movie, then I discovered that Francois Truffaut had tried and Norman Jewison had tried and Robert Redford had been involved — one after the other. No [studio] wanted to make a movie of The Princess Bride; nobody was interested in it. We kept tearing the budget down, I had to try to sell foreign rights and video rights, I had to cut my salary, I had to cut the cast’s salaries. It was crazy. I think we had, like, $16 million dollars, which even at the time wasn’t very much. In the script it said “the army of Florin” — I had seven people in the army of Florin.

GOLDMAN: We had terrible trouble finding a Buttercup because she had to be so beautiful. We had all kinds of pretty girls come in but they weren’t this staggering thing. And I remember, I was in New York and Rob called me and said, “I think I’ve found her.”

ROBIN WRIGHT, Princess Buttercup: I think I was literally the 500th ingenue to read for Rob, and I think he was so exhausted at that point from looking at all the girls he was like, Ugh, God, just hire her. I had done one movie before that — I can’t even remember the name of it — where I played a teenage runaway who became a hooker and heroin addict. Talk about the antithesis of The Princess Bride!

NEXT: “Everybody fell a little bit in love with Robin on the shoot.”